Feed a Family

Feed A Family

‘Feed a Family’ is an appeal run by the staff of Vinnies Kingsland and supported by the Vinnies young adults. The purpose of this appeal is to support families who are struggling to put food on the table.

The people who come to us seeking support, vary from your city rough sleeper, through to parents and grandparents both with jobs who simply cannot put food on the table due to extra costs. Other people are referred through social service providers, Work and Income, mental health services, refuges, prison and so forth.

‘Feed a Family’ is therefore more than simply an appeal, it is an opportunity to connect with a family, and truly make a difference. 

Feed a Family

December Weekly Update

Supporting Those Without a Home

Homelessness remains one of the most significant impacts of the Auckland housing crisis. This entails those sleeping on the streets and in cars but can also be seen in other ways. Homelessness can also be experienced by those couch surfing or residing in emergency housing centres. James Liston Hostel is a a house and haven for those looking to transition out of homelessness. The hostel provides warm, secure rooms, two meals a day, laundry services, and access to social services and drug and alcohol counselling. Tenants can stay for up to 12 weeks and the staff work with residents to find a secure space for housing.

A contingent of volunteers from the Society of St Vincent de Paul recently hosted a christmas dinner for those residing at James Liston Hostel. The intention was to provide a hearty meal for those who go without, but more than anything an opportunity to connect and share stories. The volunteers enjoyed creating a space to connect and learn more about the lived realities of homelessness. It was sobering to hear stories of trauma and grief, but also stories of hope for what lies ahead for the residents. The volunteers left the service initiative feeling a sense of fullness, as this was a concrete experience of where donations of the feed a family appeal go towards. It goes towards helping individuals such as those at James Liston Hostel to be fed and recognise the gift of coming together for Christmas.

Volunteers at James Liston Hostel

A Season of Giving: Volunteers at Vinnies Centre

At present the Newton foodbank is currently supporting over 5000 people. This consists of babies, children, youth, parents and grandparents. This Christmas The Society of St Vincent de Paul are putting out more foodboxes than ever. Within the past 10 days alone, more than 250 foodparcels have been distributed. These are boxes of groceries that include dry goods, fresh vegetables, 5 kgs of meat and gifts for the whole family. The Society of St Vincent de Paul are extremely grateful for the donations that have been coming through, as well as the youth volunteers who have turned up in groups to put the boxes together. More supplies were brought in and a further 150 foodparcels were able to be made. This has ensured that families are well fed and catered to this Christmas season. 


Parishes Gather to Support Families in Need

At the beginning of the Christmas Season, the Society of St Vincent de Paul are finding that more and more working families are seeking support in budgeting and food support. By the time that they come to our food bank, they’re often broken and hurt. They have tried everything and there is a deep sense of shame as they have had to explain their struggles countless times to others. There have been many stories shared about parents keeping their kids at home because they do not want others to know they have nothing to put in their children’s lunch boxes. In response to this, an appeal has been made within parishes; seeking the support of the community to care for those who worry about where their next meal might come from. It is hoped that the full proceeds of this appeal will go towards feeding families right throughout the Christmas season. The Society of St Vincent de Paul give thanks for Good Shepherd parish in balmoral and St Michael’s Parish in Remuera for their generosity this week.


Vinnies News Weekly

November Highlights

Tu Kahikatea Awards 2019

Each year, the local Diocese and Auckland Catholic Youth Ministry present the Tu Kahikatea Awards. This award is named after the New Zealand Catholic Bishops Conference statement – Tu Kahikatea: Standing Tall.As such, the Tu Kahikatea awards recognise the gift that youth bring to their families, schools, parish, as well as the wider community around them. It is also about recognising and affirming them for their outstanding contribution to those in need. A number of youth were called forward to receive a gift and blessing, some of whom were involved with Vinnies Youth Auckland over the past few years.

Vinnies Youth Recipients of Tu Kahikatea Award 2019:

  • Chris Tenisio 
  • Lemalie Aukuso 
  • Theresa Filipo 
  • Daniel Pavihi
  • Ivona Tamiano 
  • Fiva Laufili

Each Award indicates the Tu Kahikatea component for which the young person is being recognised. The eight areas components are: 

  • ·  Advocacy 
  • ·  Justice and Service 
  • ·  Catechesis 
  • ·  Leadership Development 
  • ·  Community Life 
  • ·  Pastoral Care 
  • ·  Evangelisation 
  • ·  Prayer and Worship 

The mass was celebrated by Monsignor Bernard Kiely, who led a poignant message about servanthood and leading with a compassionate spirit. Regardless of the component each awardee contributed towards for the Tu Kahikatea award, they were acknowledged for leading the way for compassion within the Catholic church. Families and friends were present to support their loved ones as they celebrated this significant event. 

Tu Kahikatea Awardees 2019

Final School Visits 2019

As the academic year draws to a close, the Youth Team have been wrapping up the schools programme. Recently they had the privilege of connecting in with the Vinnies of St Mary’s and De La Salle College to give thanks for a year of service. These schools have carried the charism if St Vincent de Paul with humility and love. De La Salle Vinnies in particular were recognised for their faithful service at the South Auckland Foodbank. It was here that they attended each week without fail to cook bulk meals for local families. As the exam season unfolds, the Society of St Vincent de Paul wish to give thanks for the care that the youth have put into their year of service.


The Vincentian Way

If asked to consider the three main characteristics of their lived spirituality, many Vincentians would probably say that they were compassion, friendship and prayer. The Society of St Vincent de Paul in Auckland are fortunate to have Vincentians such as Claire Murphy, as well as Gerald & Heather Hart who for many years have empathized emotionally with people who suffer as a result of material or spiritual poverty. They have led the way for the youth of today through deeds of mercy and action for justice. As in days of old with the Daughters of Charity, these same Vincentians have fostered numerous friendships through a sense of mutual respect and care. This, in a sense has become the lived experience of their prayer:  to encounter and assist the same Christ in the poor. Auckland Vinnies Youth are grateful for these elders who have provided governance, funded, supported and helped sustain the Vinnies youth programme over the last 25 + years. The Auckland Vinnies youth team and young adult members are very grateful and moved by their commitment and servant leadership. 

Left to right: Claire, Gerard & Heather

Working Together to Support the Community

The Society of St Vincent de Paul are grateful for partnerships with organisations such as KiwiHarvest who help to ensure that families don’t go without food in their home. To date KiwiHarvest have been responsible for redistributing 3,200,000 kilos of quality food which would otherwise be discarded as waste. Their assistance is significant as they seek to reduce the negative impacts of food waste within Aotearoa whilst also providing nutrient rich sources of food for those in need. The food is sourced from a number of growers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retail food businesses; which is then added to foodparcels destined for a home.

KiwiHarvest dropping off food ready for redistribution

The Christmas Appeal Begins!

Recently the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Auckland launched the annual Christmas ‘Feed a Family’ Appeal for those in need. This appeal is particularly for the families that we have journeyed alongside throughout the year. The team have already begun sorting and getting to work on the database of names which have been compiled. 

Last year, the Vinnies centre was inundated with requests for food by families and individuals, from those living alone and/or in emergency housing facilities. We are hopeful that through the generous donations of the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal we will be better equipped to support those who seek our assistance. We give thanks for the generous donors and volunteers who are making this Christmas appeal happen.


Happy Birthday Robert!

The Gundry Foodbank wishes to give thanks for Robert, who recently celebrated his 73rd birthday! Robert has been of invaluable service to the Society of St Vincent de Paul beginning his journey in 2004 and serving faithfully for over 15 years. He was an active volunteer in the Kingsland opshop and assisting with the pick up and logistics of goods for families; now having a hand in ensuring the foodbank at Gundry runs smoothly. The Society of St Vincent de Paul thanks Robert for his long service and wish him good health on the journey ahead.


Volunteering in varying ministries within Vinnies Youth has brought forth new ways understanding, of valuing one another, as well as a nurturing of love and respect. Whether in prisons, hospitals or with those who have no place to call home; a number of volunteers have made a pledge to committ to something larger than themselves – by committing to give back in whatever way they can. Each week, volunteers at the prison lead a minstry of the word: providing first and foremost a space for those who are incarcerated to connect and pray together. Those who volunteer in the hospitals provide care for patients attending Sunday mass, making the time to take patients back and from their room. The true gift of this encounter are the conversations and healing that unfold. Lastly, the Auckland City Mission host a weekly cook-up for women who lack a home in the Auckland CBD. The women involved enjoy a hot and scrumptious food together; trading stories and laughter into the evening. Each of these ministries in turn have brought various community together, and so the Society of St Vincent de Paul wish to acknowledge the countless hours contributed towards the betterment of others.


Feed a Family

November Highlights

Making a Difference this Christmas

Each Christmas season, the Society of St Vincent de Paul across Auckland serve over countless families who are in desperate need. Each family recognise the struggle that comes from times of crisis, and so the Society seeks to provide immediate alleviation through food assistance. Through the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal, the journey of service has been deepened by providing greater sources of nutritional food. It has also allowed for service providers to more clearly identify other needs that are not being met. This brings forth a more informed and familial sense of assistance for families.

The Christmas ‘Feed a Family’ appeal is now active at St Patrick’s Cathedral parish, who have recently pledged their support so that families can experience the coming season with joy. The donations of this appeal will therefore ensure that families can enjoy festivities without worrying where their next meal might come from.


Learning Service Through Experience

As part of their annual social outreach day, the students of Baradene College spend the day visiting different organisations who are dedicated to working to improve the lives of others. Baradene students chose to visit the new centre today to learn more about the food bank which aids families in need, as well as how the youth programme supports local schools in their service projects. The preparation for the Christmas appeal has led to a surge of activity at the new Gundry St Vinnies Centre in Auckland. Therefore it was with the utmost gratitude that the students aided in the foodbank, packing foodboxes and also packing treat bags for children attending a Vinnies community event over the coming weekend. 


The Christmas Appeal Begins!

Recently the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Auckland launched the annual Christmas ‘Feed a Family’ Appeal for those in need. This appeal is particularly for the families that we have journeyed alongside throughout the year. The team have already begun sorting and getting to work on the database of names which have been compiled. 

Last year, the Vinnies centre was inundated with requests for food by families and individuals, from those living alone and/or in emergency housing facilities. We are hopeful that through the generous donations of the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal we will be better equipped to support those who seek our assistance. We give thanks for the generous donors and volunteers who are making this Christmas appeal happen.


Vinnies News Weekly

October Highlights

Giving Thanks for the Journey

A number of High School Vinnies groups are gathering for the last time this year to reflect and celebrate their journey for 2019. The Youth Team alongside a number of Vincentians have been visiting each of these groups in turn to present awards of service recognition. These awards acknowledge the countless hours spent in projects, awareness programmes and connections made with those around them. Staff of these school groups were also acknowledged as they were invaluable in ensuring that these young men and women reach their full potential in the work of service.

It has been a fulfilling journey for these young men and women as they have journeyed with many different people throughout their community. In addition to this they have taken part on many awareness workshops where they have been challenged about their views on society. The Youth Team brought these experiences to the forefront in their final reflections; providing a space for the students to feedback the insights of their volunteering. On behalf of all whom these students seek to assist, the Society of St Vincent de Paul give thanks. 


Long Service Acknowledgement at Sacred Heart College

The Society also gives special thanks to Margaret Ward of Sacred Heart College  who has been the teacher in charge of the Sacred Heart Vinnies group for over 10 years. She will be stepping down from this role and will be sorely missed. Margaret has been an invaluable source love and care. As a Vincentian she has guided many students on their service journey, many of whom have continued this long after high school.


Cooking and Connecting

Homelessness is complex and results from multiple factors. Recent studies show that the most at-risk groups include those with mental health issues or alcohol and drug addictions, as well as those experiencing family violence. The reality of this social issue is that it is increasingly affecting groups who have not traditionally been at risk. At the Auckland City Mission a number of young women have been leading the way in creating space spaces for cooking and connecting in with those without a place to call home. Each week the collective host a dinner at Auckland City Mission for women. They take the time to prepare the meals by hand and spend time with the women who come in for the dinner. The Young Vinnies involved recognise the gift that comes from face to face interaction, as well as the power of sharing in stories, laughter and song. This project alongside others throughout Auckland are designed to ensure that people feel a sense of welcome and belonging wherever they be on their life journey.


A New Season

Recently the staff of Vinnies at the Newton centre bid farewell to Mary Masters who has journeyed alongside the team since February 2019. She has been helpful and skilled in her role as the financial administrator. Mary has been a wonderful addition to our team and will be sorely missed. The Society of St Vincent de Paul gives thanks for her work, her love and presence.


A Year of Service

As a way to end their academic year before entering the exam season, the Vinnies of Carmel and Rosmini College gathered for one final service project. In the space of a couple of hours, these young men and women whipped up a meal to feed over 150 people. This meal will soon be distributed to local families in need. The school groups have learnt throughout the year about the significance of food insecurity, as well as the impact of their service projects. The students involved hope to inspire those in younger years to follow their lead and care for the community as lovingly as they have.


Journeying with Those who are Incarcerated

At times, the volunteers who lead prison ministry at Mt Eden Corrections are overwhelmed by the range of problems they hear of New Zealanders who speak of their encounters with the criminal justice system. Time and time again there are narratives of pain, brokenness and intergenerational suffering. The Vinnies who lead this ministry recognise that finding solutions to the problems they have heard are not simple. This is a reality that is acknowledged and where hope of the ministry stems from. Amidst the narratives of brokenness, there has been an equally powerful presence of whānau, understanding, love and a growing sense of belonging that comes through healing past hurts. This ministry has invited people from all walks of life to work together and have trust in one another’s ability. With delicacy and care, the Vinnies involved hope to provide a space of spirituality and peace for others. These allow for the taking up of responsibility for past wrongs and to begin to deal with a legacy of social neglect. 


Vinnies News Weekly

September Highlights

Beginning a New Chapter

For over 25 years, the Kingsland Vinnies Centre has served countless families within Auckland. It has been home and haven to a thriving food bank, opshop and youth office; each of which has created a space for people to come together and grow.  As the journey at the Kingsland Centre comes to a close, it is fitting that the impact of these services are now brought to the forefront.

Kingsland Vinnies Centre

Kingsland Foodbank

Food insecurity is a challenge that no New Zealand family should have to experience. However, this has not been the case in Aotearoa.

In households with children, this form of insecurity is evident when adults or children has no reliable access to adequate food. It occurs in cases where caregivers feel anxious about where the next meal will come from, or are forced to rely on charity or emergency assistance programmes. Within Aotearoa, food insecurity is largely the result of a lack of sufficient money for food, although other socio-cultural factors play a role.

The Kingsland Foodbank recognises the importance of nutritional and accessible food, particularly for families in need. The team are aware that through the simple provision of foodbanks, this can address, at the very least the possible adverse health, development and education consequences.

On a typical day, anywhere between 10 and 20 families seek food assistance. These families come from all walks of life. Some live in the most deprived neighbourhoods, others with a primary caregiver on the benefit, and others who live with a sole parent. Regardless of their situation, the team provide a space where the stories of these families can be heard, and where necessary, the right avenues of support advised.

The Kingsland Vinnies Centre have been fortunate to have had a strong foodbank management team. Some of these young men and women have volunteered for over 20 years. They have provided countless hours in sorting, packing and organising dispatch of food parcels. They have walked alongside thousands of families and helped create a community of sharing.

Kingsland Vinnies Opshop

The Opshop in Kingsland has been pivotal in bringing people together within the local community. Aside from providing low-cost clothing, furniture and household items, the shop volunteers have provided a warm smile and inviting conversation for all who walk through the door. Each day the men and women involved ensure that the stock are set out nicely, and also assist the foodbank in putting together food parcels.

The older volunteers enjoy having the students around, who often share stories of their Vinnies experience. Elders need accompaniment, but the lack of understanding in needs and worries often cause a divide between them and the younger generation. The Opshop bridges this divide by creating an open space of positivity and hospitality.

A benefit of having an opshop near central Auckland has been the opportunities created for local young vinnies from high schools. These provide a platform for youth to see firsthand where their donations go towards. In learning through experience the students build upon their values and form lasting bonds that translate to stronger acts of service for the wider community.

Kingsland Youth Offices

Alongside the foodbank and opshop, the youth office has created opportunities for young people to be involved in shaping and driving the Vinnies Youth Programme in Auckland. It has been a space where creativity and oppeness could be nurtured. This provided the space for the services of the Kingsland Centre to become directly intertwined with the development of services and programmes for youth.

As the centre for the development of Auckland Vinnies Youth, the team has sought to create a feeling of connectedness to others and to wider society. Each year, the youth programme has grown, ensuring that those being served feel positive and comfortable with their own identity.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul have been privileged with the expertise and energy of many young men and women over the years. They have brought with them a strong sense of family and whānau, and brought the charism to life within schools, communities as well as their own peer groups. The Youth Offices have been spaces of connection, prayer and hope for the future of the Society.

The Auckland Vinnies operations have since moved to Gundry St, Newton. The foodbank and youth programmes will continue to run at the new facility, congruent with the many memories and stories shared at their previous location.


For our Wahine: Supporting One Another Through Connection

It is estimated that 1 in 100 people within New Zealand are homeless. Based on the street count, it’s estimated there were approximately 800 people unsheltered across Auckland on September 17, 2018. Approximately 48 percent of these people are wahine (women) who have no choice but to sleep it rough or live in precarious, transitional housing. There are countless stories of vulnerability, of suffering from harassment, violence and abuse. There is a pervading sense of anxiety for those who have no place to call home. Women often have to either keep to themselves, band together or have a partner to ensure their safety.

In response to the harsh realities of homelessness within Auckland, Vinnies have been meeting with Auckland Citymission leaders and members of Te Miringa Trust to roll out a new initiative to care for the wahine who need a safe space to relax, have dinner and just to be with other women.

As part of the new initiative, female volunteers from Vinnies and Te Miringa Trust volunteer each Tuesday to provide manakitanga (hospitality) through the hosting of an evening dinner.

The venue is provided by Auckland City Mission, who also provide the kitchen facilities and array of ingredients. A team of 6 Vinnies work diligently to prepare a hot scrumptious meal of “Fusion food”, designed to be nutritionous and filling.

Through a simple dinner, the these women are invited to form close connections with one another, to share experiences of women who have been there, done that; who know that connection building isn’t simply one and done. But rather, about nurturing healthy relationships and banding together as a family.


Loaves and Fishes: Making Food Matter

In response to learning about food insecurity within Aotearoa/ New Zealand, a number of schools continue to show they care through food appeals and cooking programmes. These initiatives have been aimed at supporting local families in need. In providing the neccessary items to make a meal, these allow families the space to focus on other aspects of wellbeing in order to become more secure.

The large amount of canned goods received over the last few weeks have been distributed to foodbanks across the city, with pre-cooked meals being prepared and provided to families in their respective communities. The Society of St Vincent de Paul would like to thank the many Young Vinnies who have contributed to the welfare of those around them.


One Family: Auckland Vinnies Youth Celebrate Feast of St Vincent de Paul

At the end of September, Vinnies Youth Auckland hosted the Diocesan Youth Mass. The theme was “We Give Thanks to You Oh God” and was celerated by Fr Martin Wu. The event also coincided with the Feast Mass of St Vincent de Paul, with almost 1000 coming together at the St Patrick’s Cathedral.

To celebrate the feast day, the charism that St Vincent de Paul displayed was recognised through the youth gathered, who received awards in recognition of their love and service fro the community. The mass included a poignant message of care for those we seek to assist, with music led by both Grace Ministries and Mother of Divine Mercy Youth.

The Society of St Vincent de Paul wish to thank the many young men and women who have made a commitment to service, particularly throughout 2019. To all our our connected Vincentians, principals, staff members of our secondary schools, leaders in the tertiary sector, Vinnies parish groups, as well as our families; thank you for your invaluable support of the work we do. The following people were recognised for their services to the community:

Feed a Family

September Highlights

We Have Moved!

The Food bank and youth offices have now moved to a new premises on 12 Newton Street, Auckland. The foodbank is up and running and will operate between 10am – 3pm from Monday to Friday.

On the 16th of September, the team bid farewell to the Kingsland building, a home for the Auckland Central Vinnies since 1991. The foodbank at the time supported 200 people, but over the years this has grown exponentially. Prior to the closure of the building earlier this month, the foodbank was supporting over 3,500 people. The larger premises offers more space which is suited for the storage and provision of bulk foodparcels. It also houses the youth team as well as a space for formation and gatherings. The new space now contains a dedicated reception and space for families and individuals who seek assistance. 

The Society of St Vincent de Paul give thanks for this vision and how this journey has come to fruition. Special thanks is given to our donors: the East Auckland St Vincent de Paul and leaders; the Auckland governance board who have spent years working on the relocation plans; the volunteers who made a significant contribution in moving the centre; the Onehunga shop manager and driver who offered truck and transport services, and last but not least Mike Phillipe who sourced all the warehouse racking for the building. This new space means a new chapter in the unfolding of the St Vincent de Paul operations within Auckland. The Society gives thanks for all those who continue to support the movement.


Cans for Christmas Donate over 22,000 Cans to the Society of St Vincent de Paul

Moved by a call to bring the community together, Cans for Christmas established itself in 2015. It is a project that mobilises Catholic Schools around New Zealand to donate cans of food to their local St Vincent de Paul foodbank. The response was tremendous. More than 22,000 cans were collected within the space of a few weeks.

Over 22,000 cans of food donated for families in need

A number of the Vinnies Youth Team were onsite to help with sorting and packing the cans, all of which will be destined for families in need within their respective communities over the Christmas period. “Its a fantastic feeling to see how much all the schools donate… and what the people give”, says Billy Hadnett, team leader of Cans for Christmas. As a teacher, Billy knows all too well the reality of those who come to school hungry.

This can collection comes at a timely moment as the winter season proved demanding with relation to families seeking support from the foodbank. The ‘Feed a Family’ Appeal relies on the generosity and initiative of projects such as Cans for Christmas as this allows for stronger support networks to be established.


Nurturing Realities: Nutritional and Accessible Food

It is estimated that 1 in 100 people within New Zealand are homeless. Based on the street count, it’s estimated there were approximately 800 people unsheltered across Auckland on September 17, 2018. Approximately 48 percent of these people are wahine (women) who have no choice but to sleep it rough or live in precarious, transitional housing. There are countless stories of vulnerability, of suffering from harassment, violence and abuse. There is a pervading sense of anxiety for those who have no place to call home. Women often have to either keep to themselves, band together or have a partner to ensure their safety. 

In response to the harsh realities of homelessness within Auckland, Vinnies have been meeting with Auckland Citymission leaders and members of Te Miringa Trust to roll out a new initiative to care for the wahine who need a safe space to relax, have dinner and just to be with other women.

As part of the new initiative, female volunteers from Vinnies and Te Miringa Trust volunteer each Tuesday to provide manakitanga (hospitality) through the hosting of an evening dinner.

The venue is provided by Auckland City Mission, who also provide the kitchen facilities and array of ingredients. A team of 6 Vinnies work diligently to prepare a hot scrumptious meal of “Fusion food”, designed to be nutritionous and filling. 

Through a simple dinner, the these women are invited to form close connections with one another, to share experiences of women who have been there, done that; who know that connection building isn’t simply one and done. But rather, about nurturing healthy relationships and banding together as a family.


A Birthday Wish Come True

Recently, John Metherall – CEO of Catholic Social Services  – came to visit the local Vinnies foodbank. Catholic Social Services is the social outreach agency of the Diocese of Auckland. They are committed to the positive wellbeing of those within the community. Alongside John was Helen Porter who gifted a donation of money that was fundraised on her birthday. The proceeds of this donation from Helen and all those who contribute to the ‘Feed a Family’ appeal will go towards ensuring meals are provided for families in need.